How to Prune Italian Cypress Trees

Italian Cypress trees are evergreens with a tall, slender appearance. They grow up to 3 feet per year and add height to any landscape without taking up much space. As opposed to other evergreens, this one doesn't grow in a pyramid shape. Instead, it's a narrow, column-like tree. If you allow it, Italian Cypress will grow to a height of 40 feet. However, pruning it will keep it to the desired height.

avenue lined with cypress trees in Tuscany
credit: barbaracantiello/iStock/Getty Images
Road lined with Italian cypress trees

Step 1

Use pruning shears or hedge clippers to prune the Italian Cypress tree. Shears are ideal if you are doing upkeep on the tree and simply removing some wayward branches. However, if you want to shape or cut off the top of the tree, hedge clippers will make the job easier.

Step 2

Trim the tree in the early spring to keep its shape and prevent the branches from winter damage. Heavy snowfalls can cause them to open up and split. Remove branches that are too long or those that look unhealthy.

Step 3

Take care of drooping limbs by clipping them off. Follow the limb back to the inside of the tree's canopy. Cut it at the point where it meets a healthy side branch.

Step 4

Shear the tree by removing all the new terminal buds, which are the soft buds that are in their first year of growth. This will limit excessive growth.

Step 5

Top the tree to limit its height. Climb a ladder to the top of the tree and use hedge clippers to cut off the top until it's the desired height. Because of the fast growth of Italian Cypress trees, this may need to be repeated annually.